Tim Keller is an American pastor, a theologian and a New York Times best-selling author. He is the leader of Redeemer Prestbitarian Church in New York City. Born in 1950 Tim Keller was raised in Pennsylvania and graduated from Bucknell University in 1972. He graduated from Gordon Theological Seminary in 1975. In 1981 Tim Keller received his Doctorate of Ministry from Westminster Theological Seminary.
He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church and in 1989, despite having very little experience, he founded the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. In over 20 years the church has grown and now hosts five Sunday services at three different sites. The church has weekly attendances in excess of 5000.
Best Tim Keller Books – The Prodigal God
Tim Keller is probably best known for his teaching and books. The first book I ever read of Tim Keller’s was the Prodigal God. For me this is one the of the best Tim Keller books. I have heard many sermons from Jesus’ teaching in Luke 15, but this was the first time I have heard someone teach this famous parable from the perspective of the older brother.
Most sermons I have heard or books I have read before from Luke 15 always focussed from the perspective of the younger brother. The parable tells the story of two brothers and a father. The younger brother decides to take his inheritance early. He squanders his inheritance and finds himself in a field feeding pigs. He suddenly realises what he has done and decides to go back home. It’s better to be a servant in my father’s house than in a field feeding pigs the younger brother concludes.
The father sees his son return from afar and welcomes him back home, the older brother however points out that the younger brother was not as righteous as him. The older brother is angry because the father welcomes the younger brother back home. The younger brother doesn’t get what he deserves, instead he gets what he doesn’t deserve.
Like I said before the focus always seemed to be on the younger brother and his relationship with his father. The father’s response to the younger brother is sometimes featured. What makes this on the the best Tim Keller books, in my opinion anyway, is that he gets us the reader to focus on the older brothers reaction to the younger brother and the father.
“Everything you have ever heard and everything you have ever thought, about how to approach God, is wrong”
The older brother represents those that think they never make any mistakes, those that have stayed faithful to the cause and who in their opinion deserve more than the rest. The point of the parable though is that God’s grace never runs out. It is always there, even for those that believe they no longer need it. The reality of the parable is this, it’s easy to see how the younger brother needs the father’s grace, but the older brother needs it just as much.
Best Tim Keller Books – King’s Cross
Off the back of reading The Prodigal God, I devoured another one of Tim Keller’s books. King’s Cross makes the best Tim Keller books shortlist because it take’s some very deep theological concepts and explains them very simply. In fact this is one of Tim Kellers gifts, he takes quite complex subjects and explains them in a very easy to understand way.
I read this in the build up to Easter as the title of the book alludes to the theme. The cross of Jesus and it’s importance to the Christian message. The book is split into two parts. The first part focuses on “The King”, looking at the deity of Christ with the second part focussing on “The Cross”, his purpose in coming to earth to live as a man.
Tim Keller like all great story tellers do, sets an amazing scene. So much so that you almost feel like you where there, amongst the crowds listening to Jesus. He deals with all the big theological issues like what was unique about the life and death of Jesus? Why did Jesus cleanse the temple? What was the point in cursing a fig tree? As with all of Keller’s books he deals with the subject of grace and reminds us once again that God is a God of mercy, justice, grace and sovereignty.
Best Tim Keller Books – The Reason for God
Another of the best Tim Keller books I can recommend is The Reason for God. It seems like on a daily basis we are being told that Christianity has no place in the modern world. That all the reasons for God have now been explained away. This book is the perfect answer to the skeptics and the people that say believing in God is not for intelligent people.
Books of this nature normally come across in a very arrogant and dogmatic way, however Tim Keller takes a conversationalist and humble approach. Without arrogance or being patronising he explains why believing in God is a reasonable view point and that there is plenty evidence for the existence of God. Rather than attacking the arguments against the existence of God and shouting back, he takes the time to patiently unpick the arguments and comes back with a detailed, well thought out response.
I normally find these types of books a hard slog to be honest but much like his preaching style he writes in such a way that I find myself drawn in.
I do question whether or not these sort of books would lead someone to convert to Christianity. However I am not sure this is the sole intention of the author. I think the book is written as much for Christians as it is non-Christians. Tim Keller helps the reader to underpin and reinforce their faith so when the tough questions are asked, you can give a reasonable well thought out answer.